RAGBRAI: Cycling Across Iowa and Experiencing the Heartland

RAGBRAI (The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) is a beloved cycling event that draws thousands of participants from all over the world. It is a seven-day ride that takes cyclists across the state of Iowa, from the Missouri River to the Mississippi River. Along the way, riders pass through small towns and rural areas, experiencing the unique culture and hospitality of Iowa.

This year's ride is July 22-29 and the route is on the photo you see here.

Each year, the number of participants in RAGBRAI varies, with estimates ranging from 10,000 to 20,000 cyclists. The ride is fully supported, with luggage transport, bike mechanics, and medical staff available throughout the week. This allows riders to focus on the adventure and camaraderie of the ride, rather than logistical details.

One of the questions that many people have about RAGBRAI is where participants sleep. The overnight towns along the route provide camping facilities, which include showers and restrooms. Participants can also choose to stay in hotels or bed and breakfasts in nearby towns, although these accommodations can fill up quickly.

Another logistical question that arises is how participants get their stuff from city to city. RAGBRAI provides a baggage truck service that transports riders' belongings from one overnight town to the next. Participants simply drop off their bags at a designated location in the morning, and they will be waiting for them when they arrive at the next overnight town.

Due to the popularity of RAGBRAI, a lottery system is used to determine who is allowed to participate each year. The lottery is typically open for a few weeks in January, and cyclists can register for a chance to be selected. The lottery process involves several rounds, and the results are announced in early March. While the lottery system can be frustrating for some, it is designed to ensure a fair and diverse mix of participants on the ride.

For some, RAGBRAI is a bucket list item that they hope to one day cross off. As a matter of fact, I was chosen in the lottery a couple of years ago, but had to sell my spot when I had a family emergency and could not attend. However, I am still looking forward to the day when I can participate in this iconic Iowa experience.

In conclusion, RAGBRAI is a unique and beloved event that attracts cyclists from around the world. With thousands of participants, camping facilities provided in each overnight town, baggage transport, and a lottery system to ensure a fair selection process, RAGBRAI is an incredible adventure that should be on every cyclist's bucket list.

Here is the next post of my blog:  Lance Armstrong: The Controversial Legacy of a Cycling Legend

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